The vast majority of Iraqis are deeply mistrustful of the US-led coalition that is occupying their country, even if they’re happy Saddam Hussein is history, suggests the preliminary results of a major public opinion poll released Monday.

Fewer than one percent of the 3,244 Iraqis interviewed by Oxford Research International, in conjunction with Oxford University’s sociology department, bemoaned the fall of Saddam’s regime after the March invasion.

But 79 percent said they have no confidence in the US-led forces now occupying Iraq, according to a summary of the poll’s findings released Monday by Oxford Research International, a private research organization.

Seventy-three percent had a similar lack of trust in the Coalition Provisional Authority, led by Paul Bremer.

On the other hand, 70 percent had confidence in Iraq’s religious leaders, and 54 percent in their “mukhtars” or local leaders.

Oxford Research International said its survey was “the first truly representative national study in the recent history of the country,” with a total of 46 fieldworkers fanning out across Iraq for a month from mid-October.


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